Residential - Tips & tricks - Building or renovating permit

Planning renovations or other work on your home this summer? Remember your building or renovation permit.

It can take anywhere from 24 hours to 6 months to get a building or renovation permit, depending on the nature and complexity of the project. The time required also varies with the municipality and how well prepared your application is. A single missing document can set your application back for weeks, so it's important to make sure your application is complete.

Many people fail to understand the purpose of the whole process, considering it pure and simple interference on the part of the municipality. But building permits have a definite purpose: to give the municipality control over the nature of work done within its limits and prevent residents from simply building whatever they want, however they want. This provides more uniformity and greater safety. For example, if your neighbors know they have to get a permit, they may think twice before expanding their bungalow to your property line using improper materials. At the same time, building permits are a means for municipalities to generate revenues, particularly from the fees levied for processing applications.

In some municipalities, it is estimated that nearly half of all residents conducting work on their homes do so without permits because they're worried about how it would affect their property taxes. Residents should remember, however, that it can be very beneficial to have their property reassessed after being granted a permit since when they decide to sell, a higher municipal assessment will make it easy to justify their asking price.